Present: Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Megan McMath, Al Beddows, Jeff Bateman and Tony St-Pierre. Councillor-elect Dana Lajeunnesse was in the galley. Absent: Ebony Logins.
Opening announcements: Welcome to Councillor-elect Dana Lajeunesse, who will be sworn in at the Oct 15th Regular Council meeting. Re Community in Bloom, Sooke once again achieved Five Blooms, the highest rank available. Tait is the new UBCM president (114th president to date).
Minnie Rd Variance Postponed
6.1. Development Variance Permit – 1769 Minnie Road – Postponed to next regular council meeting.
Prior to this hearing, 12.1 was passed unanimously, allowing applications made after-the-fact without having to tear down the structure before applying for permission to build it.
There is a low risk from a fire perspective. The buildings are well maintained, and the owner has been responsive in providing the necessary documentation.
Beddows and Bateman were overlooking at the site. Beddows noted they are large buildings, and he asked when they were built. Staff replied that because there was no permit, that information is not known. It was also noted that the property is up for sale.
Beddows was uncomfortable passing it as it. They are not simple 10-by-10 sheds, but instead rather substantive. Beddows wants to know the size of the buildings, when they purchased the property, do they have a buyer lined up, and when the buildings were constructed. The owner(s) live in Calgary.
Staff noted that the District can refuse the variance and force the owner to tear down the buildings.
Tait noted that postponement may be better, as the applicant was not available to speak to Council on the matter.
MOTION: Beddows made the motion to postpone this to the next regular meeting, seconded by McMath.
St-Pierre noted that any information from the applicant may not change the final decision. Beddows noted that it would change everything for him. He may well vote for the variance at the end, but he wanted that information before agreeing to the variance. Bateman quoted the 2001 building bylaw noting that there are penalties that cannot exceed $10,000. If they pass the variance, the District is in a position to impose a fine.
Motion carried unanimously.
Council sympathetic, homeowner referred to bylaw officer
8.1. Building on Kaltasin – Mark Offley
Following up on a permit application that was applied for and received by a neighbour. When the garage arrived on a flatbed next door.
The District has lost documentation that he hand-delivered, and has continually delayed acting on his complaint. The roof height was not properly stated. The setback did not include the stairs, which were added to the back of the garage. He also believes that the building is being used as an AirB&B and not as applied for (a workshop). Had the District acted on his early complaints, it never would have gotten this far. The building is in the wrong place. He noted that he is not the one who should be measuring the location of the building, that that is something that a building inspector should be doing (and should be acting on).
Bateman asked about the intent of the original permit application. Mr. Offely noted it was to be a garage and an upper suite. Mr. Offley noted that the fence was intended to protect his property visually. The photos show that the building looks over the fence, rendering the fence useless.
Beddows wanted to see the actual application. He noted that he and Bateman were over at the property looking at this today.
What was applied for doesn’t match what currently exists. Even with the height of the building, the application needs to include the maximum height of the building and that was clearly not included in the original application.
Tait noted that a staff report may be in order.
Staff noted that Council is not supposed to be involved with building permits. Re Mr. Offley’s concerns, the building is not located within the setback and the staircase falls into setback exemptions provided it falls within 0.6 meters. The Air B&B issue is a bylaw enforcement matter and again shouldn’t involve Council. The building is in compliance with the bylaws. It checks out with staff.
St-Pierre asked about the height of the building. Staff noted that while the application indicated eight meters, they are allowed up to nine meters.
Staff noted that all measurements will be done by the Inspectors. They have been on-site multiple times and have no concerns. Mr. Offley was referred to take it up with the bylaw officer.
Conversation shift to AirBnBs
St-Pierre noted that this brings up the issue of AirBnBs. Staff noted there was nothing specific to AirBnB. Staff is reviewing definitions at this point. Short term rental definitions are being reviewed. They are currently permitted in all zones, providing the owner has a business license.
Bateman noted there are over 160 AirBnBs listed in Sooke. Kelowna sells AirBnB licences at $350 a pop. That’s a great revenue for the District that currently being missed.
It was noted that AirBnBs are an emerging file.
Sign declaring Sooke a Compassionate Community to be posted at the Kiosk
8.2. Sooke Multi-Belief Initiative – Don Brown & Rick Eby: Ultimately, the sign will be posted at the Kiosk
- Delegation Request-Multi Belief Initiative “Sooke has been recognized by Charter for Compassion International as a Compassionate Community, based on the Sooke Compassionate Action Plan. This plan, which was prepared through extensive community consultations, was approved by the District of Sooke Council on June 11, 2019. A three-foot by two-foot metal sign has been prepared for the Sooke Multi-Belief Initiative to celebrate this new status for Sooke and to remind residents of our commitment to help one another. Approval has been received from the owner of the Evergreen Centre to have the sign on his property, where the kiosk is located at 6660 Sooke Road.”Approval is requested from the District of Sooke for placement of the sign on the west side of the kiosk. The structure itself is owned by the District. If approval is obtained from Council, the Sooke Multi-Belief Initiative invites Mayor Maja Tait and Councilors to attend a public unveiling ceremony for the sign on Thanksgiving Weekend.” (Saturday, Oct 26.)
The owner of the mall has agreed with the placement, and because the Kiosk is owned by the District, their permission is needed as well.
Tait noted that the Kiosk is leased from the Evergreen Centre, and they don’t have authority. Tait noted that they will have to look into it, and see if anything else has been promised. It was noted they are a secular, non-denominational.
Beddows asked if there wasn’t a signage policy for the kiosk. Staff said they weren’t aware of a policy. The sign bylaw requires that the owner must give consent, which is why staff directed the applicant to obtain their permission as well.
McMath asked if in the interim this sign could be posted. MOTION: She made a motion that the sign is added to the kiosk at the desired location. Seconded by ??, carried unanimously.
Tait noted she would be on vacation at that date, and that a deputy mayor would be available.
9. REPORT OF THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Nothing to report.
10. PUBLIC QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
- Britt Santowski noted that with flag policy, please tell the public why a flag is being flown at half mast.
- Les Haddad noted he has an AirBnB, saying that they are essentially the same as Bed and Breakfasts.
Consent Agenda adopts COW recommendations
11. CONSENT AGENDA
Motion THAT Council adopt Items 11.1. and 11.2., by general consent. Motion by McMath, seconded by St-Pierre. Carried unanimously.
11.1. Committee of the Whole Recommendations – September 17, 2019
- THAT the Committee of the Whole recommend Council approve the 2019-2022 Council Strategic Plan;
THAT the Chief Administrative Officer implement the Action Plan which is attached as Appendix A to the Strategic Plan; and
THAT annually at an open meeting of Council a progress report be provided.
- THAT the Committee of the Whole recommend Council direct staff to post the 2019-2022 Council Strategic Plan in its entirety on the District’s website and place a copy at the municipal hall reception lobby.
- THAT the Committee of the Whole recommends Council support Port Renfrew discontinuing their participation in the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission (SEAPARC).
- THAT the Committee of the Whole recommends Council direct staff to invite the CRD to present to Council on services and proportional payments for services.
- THAT the Committee of the Whole recommend Council endorse the following resolution:
- THAT the District of Sooke Council supports and wishes to join the submission from the Districts of Squamish and Tofino in response to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s proposed amendments to the Recycling Regulation of the Environmental Management Act.
The District received one new application for tax exemption, from the Mount Joy College Society and Horizons Unbound Rehabilitation Society. It does not qualify for the exemption.
“This year, the District received one application from Mount Joy College Society and Horizons Unbound Rehabilitation Society. The property does not qualify for a Statutory Exemption under Section 220 of the Community Charter nor does it qualify for an exemption under Council’s Statutory and Permissive Tax Exemption Policy as it is operated for profit and cannot show that is in receipt of public funds. Based on this information the Permissive Tax Exemption application cannot be supported and a bylaw has not been provided for consideration.”
THAT Council receive the Permissive Tax Exemption Application report, for information.
Council rescinds invalid policy
Policy: Land Use Activities Contrary to Current Bylaws and Resolutions
Policy Statement: “Council will not consider any development approvals for any property where an illegal land use activity currently exists on the property. Therefore any land use activity that is contrary to any bylaw or regulation must cease before an application to legitimize that use can be accepted by the District.”
According to a staff report, “The policy is invalid and should be rescinded. “
Staff noted that their recommendation has case law around it, saying that it’s not really functional. It would require (as an example) an owner to tear down a staircase before coming to Council to ask for permission to build the staircase.
THAT Council rescind the Land Use Activities Contrary to Current Bylaws Policy 9.1 Carried unanimously.
Sasseenos Vet to be reimbursed $1,500
12.2. 5490 Sooke Road – Application Fees – Ultimately, Dr. Booth will be reimbursed $1,500, from Council Contingency.
Council considered a report that provides information on the consequences of returning the applicant rezoning fees for the Saseenos Vet. They were recently hit with rezoning costs when the District updated its zoning.
St-Pierre noted that Dr. Booth brought her property into compliance, and the OCP changed the uses of her property. This required her to re-apply for zoning, so to no fault of her own, she’s being double-charged. The property was brought into compliance at the owner’s cost, it should be on the District to reduce the financial impact as much as possible. He noted that while staff can’t pardon costs, Council can. St-Pierre was willing to make an exception.
Bateman agreed with much of what St-Pierre argued. Dr. Booth has always been compliant, until the OCP changed (at no fault to her) in 2016. Bateman noted that many people didn’t even know there was a by-election. Many municipal matters escape the public’s attention. OCP amendments often go unnoticed. Bateman asked that the OCP amendment charge of $1,500 be dropped.
Beddows also agreed Bateman, that the $1,500 be waived as an act of good faith.
Motion THAT Council refund the $1,500 fee, and that those funds be drawn from Council Contingency.
McMath noted that there was an OCP consultation. In doing this, what’s preventing everyone from coming forward and asking for a refund. While she empathizes, it does set the presidency.
St-Pierre noted in this particular case, there was a problem with the process. The presidency would only be set for places that had an exact overlay of circumstance. He made the point that that narrows the number dramatically, from everyone to a small limited number. The District does not have to send a letter if an OCP amendment affects 10 or more properties. McMath noted that she herself gets her news only through Facebook.
Tait did not know how they can better notify residents of things like the by-election.
Staff noted that information can be sent with the annual tax bill.
Back to the matter at hand, St-Pierre asked if it would have made a difference if the owner had acted on the OCP notification. Staff noted that there’s always an option to rectify.
Carried unanimously. Dr. Booth will receive $1,500 back.
Sooke adopts Flag Protocol
THAT Council adopt Policy CO-OO4: Flag Protocol as amended
- Addition of “media releases” as a third bullet to 3(h)
- Rainbow flag amendement forthcoming through pending staff report
The Pride flag is considered a community flag during pride week. Staff will come back with very specific wording regarding including the rainbow flag as an amendment. This only is flown on request, unless Council opts to do otherwise. Community Groups with flags attached to local events, those groups can apply for consideration.
The mayor also asked for another flag pole so they can fly the T’Sou-ke flag, on consultation with the T’Sou-ke Nation. This will be addressed separately, in the future.
Beddows/St-Pierre, carried unanimously.
Zoning Amendment for Daycare on Sooke approved
738 (600-72)-2019-2365 Church Road
THAT Council adopt the bylaw cited as Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 738 (600-72), 2019. Moved by St-Pierre seconded by Beddows, carried unanimously.
Council’s second raise kicks in Jan 2020
Effective January 1, 2019, the annual remuneration will total as follows:
- To the Mayor, an amount of Twenty-Five Thousand dollars ($25,000); and
- To each Councillor, an amount of Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($12,500).
Effective January 1, 2020, the annual remuneration will total as follows:
- To the Mayor, an amount of Thirty Thousand dollars ($30,000);
- To each Councillor, an amount of Fifteen Thousand dollars ($15,000).
The District is hereby authorized to enter into agreements for benefits for Council Members and their dependents.
THAT Council adopt the bylaw cited as Council Remuneration and Benefits Bylaw No. 740, 2019.
Motion made by McMath seconded by St-Pierre, carried unanimously.
( Related: After a decade of flatlined remuneration, Sooke’s elected officials get substantial pay increase)
Fees for Memorial Plaques established
Fees for Services – Memorial Plaque Contribution Fees
- Memorial Plaque Replacement $350
- Memorial Plaque on Commemorative Item with plaque affixed to Memorial Structure after 20-year tenure $3,500
- Memorial Plaque on Commemorative Item with plaque affixed to Memorial Structure after 10-year tenure $2,500
- Memorial Plaque on Commemorative Item with plaque returned to Sponsor after 10-year tenure $2,000
- Memorial Plaque on Memorial Structure $750
THAT Council adopt the bylaw cited as Fees Amendment Bylaw No. 746 (488-04), 2019.
Motion made by St-Pierre, seconded by Beddow, carried unanimously.
Bylaw allows Council to cover DCC costs on dewatering equipment
13.4. Development Cost Charge Expenditure Bylaw No. 749, 2019
A bylaw is required in order for the District to deliver on a September 9, 2019 Council award of a contract for dewatering equipment in the amount of $442,704.
THAT Council give First, Second and Third reading to the bylaw cited as Development Cost Charge Expenditure Bylaw No. 749, 2019.
Motion by McMath, seconded by Bateman, carried unanimously.
14. NEW BUSINESS
15. COUNCIL VERBAL REPORTS
- The UBCM was “very very worthwhile” if only to hear from Peter Mansbridge that the public is indeed very worried about climate change.
- Echoed Beddows’ comments, noting it was also exhausting. It was a rare and good moment for Sooke, with the mayor becoming president, and the BC premier also representing Sooke.
- Bateman also spent half a day as a firefighter. A boyhood dream, he noted.
- He attended the Cairns staircase opening.
- He attended the VIRL meeting on Sept 21 and noted that the District is now at the fourth iteration with the lease agreement. They are getting close to Council getting a lease agreement, after which point the library can submit a building permit.
- Turns out UBCM is more than a party trip. The information obtained there, for her, was priceless. Of all the resolutions, success often depended on a few votes. Showing up really matters.
- She also did a nightshift ride-along with the RCMP, where she learned so much.
- Also enjoyed UBCM. There’s a lot to learn, many people to meet. There was an opportunity to talk to provincial regulators who impact Sooke.
- He also participated with the climate caucus, Orange Shirt on Sept 29, and the Green New Deal.
Tait noted there’s an all-candidates’ conversation at EMCS on Oct 11.
16. RISE AND REPORT OF IN-CAMERA ITEMS